St. Louis Public Radio News
9:12 am
Wed December 23, 2009

Feds address concerns about safety of Ill. prison

Sterling, Ill. – Federal officials tried Tuesday to allay fears that moving terrorism suspects from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the Thomson Correctional Center in northwestern Illinois could put the state at greater risk for an attack.

The director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Harley Lappin, told a legislative panel at a public hearing in Sterling, Ill. that Thomson would be the most secure of all federal prisons in the country.

Gov. Pat Quinn plans to sell Thomson to the federal government to house detainees and for a maximum-security federal prison, and the public hearing probably will not change that. The 12-member Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability could vote on a recommendation to sell Thomson, but Quinn does not have to follow the recommendation.

The hearing adjourned at 9 p.m., and the commission said it would not vote on the proposal before Jan. 14.